Canadarm2, a blush system from the International Space Station, got damaged after special trash caused a hole which, at first glance, seems serious. However, the Canadian Space Agency, which found the damage during a routine inspection on May 12, claims that that the robotic arm continues to function normally:
“Despite the impact, the results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the performance of the arm has not been affected.”
The Canadian Space Agency noticed the hole because, in fact, they are the ones operating the damaged robotic arm – hence the name of the system. Now, although they identified it on May 12, this does not mean that the impact occurred on the same day. The analysis carried out, unfortunately, did not allow to identify the exact date.
The International Space Station is safe, but space debris worries
Experts agree that this situation is a clear indication of the large amount of space debris surrounding the Earth. There is nothing to regret on the International Space Station, but the news would be very different if space debris had hit an astronaut. John Crassidis, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Buffalo, spoke about it with The Guardian:
“There are a lot of things traveling over 17,500 mph [28.163 km/h] and obviously they can do a lot of damage. This one didn’t do any real damage, it went through a bit of isolation, and we don’t even know if it hit part of the arm. But it is a very scary thing. What worries us most are the astronauts, they are very exposed and one day it will be a question of ‘when’, not if it could happen.
According to NASA information, the United States Department of Defense tracks about 27,000 pieces of space debris, of which 23,000 are larger than a baseball. Yes, they are small objects, the problem is that they travel at a speed of 18,000 miles per hour, which is equal to 28,968 km / h. This figure obviously makes them projectiles.
“NASA has a set of guidelines to ensure the safety of the crew of the International Space Station. Astronaut safety aboard the orbiting laboratory remains top priority of all the partners of the Station “, communicated the American space agency.